Primary Chalkboard: January 2016

Miss DeCarbo's Read Aloud Round-Up: February 2016

Hi everyone! Christina here from Miss DeCarbo's Sugar and Spice! I am SO excited to announce a new monthly series I am sharing with you here on The Elementary Chalkboard: Read Aloud Round-Up!
Do you ever find yourself reading the SAME picture books year after year? Each month, I'm going to feature a few picture books and ideas for read aloud books in your classroom.  Each month's "read aloud round-up" will feature a couple seasonal selections, a notable nonfiction book, and a character education book that I have picked out.  I will try my best to include a one page freebie printable for each of the character books I choose to share with you! To grab the books from Amazon, just use the links underneath each picture. 
Fun, right?! Let's take a look at this month's picks! 

I know Arthur's Valentine is not a NEW picture book, but I LOVE reading this book to my class every February - and here's why! The book lends itself to a really FUN writing activity you can use with your students.  In this book, Arthur receives secret admirer letters from a classmate.  In my own classroom, we tie this book in with learning about inferences.  The students all write secret admirer letters to ME without signing their name at the bottom. They have to give me clues about themselves. The following day, we read each letter aloud and we use the clues from each student's text AND what we know about one another to infer who the letters are from. There are always lots of giggles and squeals. It's adorable to see how well the kids know each other as friends both inside and outside the classroom. 

What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamanda is an AMAZING book that just arrived in my mailbox this week. I have some BIG plans for this book that I can't wait to share with you - soon! This is the story of a little boy who gets an idea, but doesn't think it is good enough. As he begins to grow in his confidence, the little boy's idea starts to come to life. What an incredible, necessary life lesson for us to teach our children! Use this book as a discussion starter for your class, stressing the importance that everyone's ideas matter and are important. 

Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Aillaud - I know that not everyone lives in cold, icy Ohio in the winter - but even if you do not live where it is cold, this is a fabulous and very interesting book for children.  My love of this book stems from the fact that children can RELATE to the book so well. All children understand the joys and difficulties of outdoor and indoor recess, so this book is exceptional for the many text to self and text to text connections students can make. The book discusses a classroom who lives in Alaska. The children go outside for recess even when it is 20 degrees below zero! (No thank you!!) This is a fabulous book that we use for reflection, questioning, and interesting inferences and information in our reading journals.  The photographs are beautiful and really launch your students into deeper level thinking. If you don't have this book, go buy it! You won't regret it!

Character education is so important in our classrooms. So often, we tend to push these lessons aside because we are so busy with standards, testing, and the ins and outs of classroom routines. Each month, I will pick out a character education book and try to provide a one page printable that you can use to have your students reflect and discuss the month's book. 

This month, I chose Spoon by Amy Krause. It's an adorable book about a spoon who thinks all of his friends (chopsticks, fork, knife) are all more interesting and better than he is. He learns that he is very special and unique. He also learns to love himself! Spoon is a great book to teach your students how to celebrate themselves and appreciate their individuality. 
To help your students reflect on how special they are, you can grab this free printable to use after you read the book together. :) Just click HERE or click on the picture below to download the page!
I hope you all loved this new blog series on Elementary Chalkboard, and I hope it gave you so me new titles or new ideas and purposes for read aloud books in February! I can't wait to bring you next month's "picture book picks" for March! I'll be back on the last day of every month with a new list for you.  

Have a wonderful week,

Teaching Black History: Don't Do This, Try This!

 Black History Month is coming up and I felt the need to share some ideas that teachers can try out in their rooms, and ideas that should be avoided!

 For the complete list of ideas, resources, and a FREEBIE head over to my Read Like a Rock Star Blog!

Kindergarten RTI: ABC's and Phonemic Awareness

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your three day weekend. After the holiday break, I had a big change in my lesson plans for my kindergarten RTI groups. We're transitioning from focusing on alphabet recognition and phonemic awareness to phonics. So I thought this would be the perfect time to stop and reflect on how we got to this point.To give you an idea of where we started, my students knew fewer than 10 letters (some knew only 1 or 2) and could not rhyme. Some could identify initial consonants but not all.

Here is how I set up my lesson plans. I wanted to set them up to reflect all the steps that I went through to teach and reinforce these skills. I work with students who needed more time learning each letter, so I had to think of many many ways to teach and reinforce. Sound familiar? I learned not to only focus on the alphabet, but also to get started on phonemic awareness skills early on. They do not need to learn every letter before beginning phonemic awareness instruction. Many kids pick it up on their own, but many do not so they need to be explicitly taught. 

Come by my blog to read more, see these lesson plans filled in...

along with examples of how I teach each section of my lesson plans and how the layout of my lesson plans change as the year progresses. 
(Here is a blank version of my lesson plans now.)

Click here to visit my blog to see these lesson plans filled in, along with much much more detail!

Subtraction with Regrouping

Aloha! Corinna here from Surfin' Through Second.  I hope you are all having a fabulous new year!

My second graders are moving right along and learned so much the first semester.  In math we really focused on number sense, place value and fact fluency.  These skills are essential to help us move into our next big skill.

Subtraction with regrouping can be very difficult for many students.  Click the picture above to check out one of my most popular posts. It has some strategies on teaching this skill. Hopefully you will pick up some new ideas and freebies that you can put to use right away.

Hooray for the 100th Day!

I'm so excited to be sharing some FUN, engaging 100th day ideas with you!  Can you believe it's close to the 100th day of school?!?  This year is flying by... it's Vicky here from Teaching and Much Moore and I hope I'm sharing some NEW ideas for you to try out.

Why not celebrate like ROYALTY this year?!?!  Here is a fun twist to the usual 100th day activities.  A few years ago I created a unit that revolved around the idea of celebrating this day like royalty!  Here are some things we did:

Now let  me tell you I'm definitely not afraid of BLING of any kind so I was all about this day!  The girls wore sashes and drew 100 tally marks on their sashes, the boys made shields and drew 100 tally marks on them.

I invited the girls to wear tiaras - a few brought some and I had crowns available for everyone else.

It's hard to celebrate without a snack so we made the number 100 very simply with pretzels and gummy lifesavers.

We also
* took 100 steps in our royal castle ( school ) to see where we ended up
* performed for the royal Queen ( me ) something we could do for 100  seconds
* wrote our 'royal signature' as many times as we could in 100 seconds

Of course the good old fashioned dress like you are 100 years old is an oldie but a goodie.  You can't go wrong with that one at all.
Here are some pics of that:

The kids get a kick out of the aging booth if you want to check out this app and take this photos.

 Celebrate the 101st day INSTEAD of the 100th day.  This was my awesome group of 2nd graders one year!  We had a ball: 
* we estimated how many Scooby Doo dog cookies were in a bucket
* drew 101 spots on our white t shirts with sharpie
* put 101 cheerios on a dog collar
* named ourselves a doggie name and put a dog license on our collar
* made the cute dog ears
*  Took a picture in front of a dog house
* rolled doggie dice to race to 101.

Here are a few ways you can decorate to get your students excited:

If you think you'd like to try a different type of 100th celebration you can find my packs below:

Enjoy xo, Vicky
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Problem Solving Apps in the Classroom

I have a lot of students that take breaks in my room.  This means the iPads get quite a workout...with quite a few games.  I don't want my students playing Temple Run or Angry Birds all the time, so I like to have as many problem-solving apps as possible.  That's right, I try to get my kids to think a little bit when they're playing games.

First up-- MineCraft, Pocket Edition.  This game is pretty incredible and the kids eat it up.  It's an open world filled with opportunities to build and create.  Plus, kids communicate and interact through the game and with one another.  It's awesome.  I apologize if you don't like Minecraft.

Cargo Bridge.  The objective is to build and construct bridges that will hold people, animals, cargo, and more.  The fun comes when you get to test your bridges and realize you need to do just a little more work.

Tangrams.  A simple app of building and creating images with geometric shapes.  It's filled with multiple levels and the images kids create are spectacular.  It's great for all ages.

Casey's Contraptions:  Rube Goldberg would be proud of this app.  Simple and executed well, but the levels are very challenging for all the kids.  They have to think, test, rethink, and retest--sometimes over and over.  It's good.

Inventioneers is much like the previous app, using objects to complete tasks and find answers to problems.  My students have just started with some of the tasks and really have to work together to solve the tasks.

a-MAZE-ing: Part puzzle, part maze, with a little eye-spy mixed in for good measure.  Roxy's a-AMAZE-ing is a huge app with many obstacles and activities to complete.  It's massively great.

I first used Lightbot during Hour of Code.  Loved it and the idea of making kids think directionally within a game.  Same rules apply for the app--plus, the robot is cool.

Kodable is a variation of coding for kids.  It's tough and there are rules that have to be followed to be successful--but it's outstanding. I highly recommend it. Seeing kids pump their fist when they pass a level is pretty cool.

Enjoy this peak into my classroom and iPad world.  If you think I left a good problem solving app out, let me know.  I'd love to know what you use with your students!


Calendar Time in our Classroom

Hi teacher friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I wanted to stop by today and share with you about our Calendar Math routine. We follow Everyday Math and I really like that the program hits so many skills in a short amount of time. When I first started teaching 1st grade, I thought the point of calendar math was to teach calendar skills, ahha! But I was SO wrong. There is so much that can happen during these few minutes! My favorite way to complete calendar is on the Smartboard, but my district asks that we have our calendar activities displayed on a bulletin board. I'm going to be completely honest and say I took these pictures a few months ago, but our routine remains the same. :) I just never got around to blogging about it until today!

I change out our activities frequently, and we don't do them all everyday. My kiddos LOVE this time, and are always quick to remind me when we forget! Here are a few activities we have done in the past! :) 

I think the main reason my kiddos like calendar is because it is led by them! Calendar helper is definitely the most coveted job each week! I lead it for the first 3-4 weeks of the year...then I lead it WITH a student, and by October, they are doing it completely on their own! 

You can see my sweet little one holding the day's calendar card. Every Day Math has a different type of pattern each month, so I use these. We also add birthdays and important holidays at the beginning of the month. He has his friends tell what the card looks like and how they know. Then we discuss the pattern unit. For this month, you can see it's A-A-B. (Triangle, triangle, square.) This is a great opportunity to show that triangles can look many different ways! 

I have no idea the source of this song! I learned it years ago when I taught preschool and the kiddos love it! 

We keep track of the days in school 2 different ways. We use the post its and a 120 chart. I like using colored post-its because it's easy for them to see patterns, but you definitely don't have to!

This seems like such a simple task, but little ones need so much practice writing the date!

I purposefully set up my Word Wall next to our calendar wall. It is a quick reminder for me to make sure we review the words each day!

This is one activity that never changes. I think it is SO important and such a powerful number sense activity! I give them the sum (like 12) and they ALL must think of a way to make 12. We take about 45-60 seconds of think time so that everyone is engaged. After they come up with a number sentence, someone else comes up with a story problem to match. :)

Like I said, I change out the activities regularly so here are some other activities we might complete. :) You can click the picture to grab these printables in my TPT shop!

What do you do during calendar time?